We live in an image conscious world. Thanks to social media, everyone (including yours’ truly is on a quest to show themselves as cool, outgoing and an amazing person to be with. We love to click selfies, show ourselves as always happy, fun loving and having a blast at all times. This to me is one of the blessings of the modern era. No one will know the inner you. The filter that you put on can help conceal what you are really within yourself.
I consider myself fortunate to have spent valuable times with my grandparents in my youth. They came from a generation that preceded the baby boomers. These people witnessed the world wars, the cold wars and every conflict that has come to define the 20th century. They have been through hunger, famine, struggle-everything you name it. These experiences shaped them to rough and tough people who called a spade a spade and walked the talk and talked the talk. Economic prosperity was however denied to them during their time on the earth. Fate did compensate them later with a change in the circumstances of their own children/ grand children.
I’ve had many colourful conversations with my own grandparents about life then versus now. Due to extreme hardships they faced, they valued people and money dearly. They would ensure that relations were maintained and money was spent wisely or not even spent all. They valued things and they abhorred waste.
For a moment consider the 21st century. We thrive in the era of commercialization. We thrive in an era of buying and spending beyond our means. For us economic prosperity was attainable due to the relative peaceful conditions that we live in. We love our gadgets and our instagrammed portraits of ourselves. There is nothing wrong in loving oneself and some may argue it is wise to mind one’s own business in a world such as today.
We live in different times. The human race of my grandfathers evolved into the one of mine that we see today. People would like to lament how good things were back then- but today is even better. It may be crowded and noisy today. But one can find true peace and harmony within oneself. Being image conscious may not be a bad thing after all. It is always better to be the best of what you can be each day.
I have learnt a simple lesson in life which I admit I learnt from my own grandparents. It was years ago and I still remember when my grandmother passed away and her body was moved from the home to the cemetery. My grandfather said he did not want to come and chose to stay home alone. As everyone made their way out, I went and had a look at my grandfather. He was really close to his wife of many years. She completed him and was there with him through thick and thin. He might have dreaded that day when they had to bade goodbye – and today it was here. There was sadness and a sense of fear in his face. Life is never going to be the same again. The realization that in the end, you are all alone by yourself- and your time could be next.
I think it is important to understand that your life is all about you and not anyone else. But I will never say that your world is all about you. The world has never owed anything to anyone and will continue despite you. It is wise to give importance to yourself rather than have a feeling of self importance or entitlement. You will be disappointed if you believe that latter is the case. The old adage holds a self evident truth – ‘Live and let live’. Always remember the first word – ‘Live’.